Deep space threat: Astronomers spot potentially hazardous asteroid approaching earth

When the astronomer captured this potentially hazardous asteroid, it was 1.9 million miles away from the earth

As several space experts including Dr. Iain McDonald and Neil deGrasse Tyson believe in a potential doomsday asteroid impact in the future, a team of astronomers has successfully captured the photograph of a potentially hazardous asteroid during its close flyby with the earth.

Asteroid's image captured during the close approach

The image of the potentially hazardous asteroid named 2020 AN3 was captured by astrophysicist Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy on January 17, 2019, during its close approach. The asteroid falls in the family of space rocks that may once hit the earth, and it is due to this that NASA has classified it as a potentially hazardous space rock.

On Friday, asteroid 2020 AN3 came very close to the earth, but it was not close enough to pose a threat to life on the earth. When Masi photographed this asteroid, it was almost 1.9 million miles away from the earth.

asteroid image
Image of asteroid captured by astrophysicist Gianluca Masi The virtual telescope project

This asteroid has a diameter of almost 510 meters and considering its size, the earth will face huge devastation if it hits the planet one day or the other. Even a mid-air explosion could unleash energy equivalent to thousands of atom bombs, and debris will start raining into the earth's atmosphere.

"At the imaging time, 2020 AN3 was at about 3.1 million km from the Earth and it was on its way approaching us. Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 2020 AN3 was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona a couple of nights ago: well done, guys. Of course, there were no risks at all for our planet," said Masi, reports.

Even though the asteroid had its close approach, it appeared only as a grain of sand in Masi's image.

Planetary defense mission is nothing but Armageddon

As threats from deep space continue approaching the blue planet, NASA is apparently formulating a planetary defense mission to protect the earth. In this mission, the United States space agency is collaborating with Elon Musk's SpaceX.

Recently, Musk had claimed that the planetary defense mission is 'Ármageddon'. Even though Musk tried to add a cinematic tone to his words, it made many people think that the situation is really serious, and something sinister is surely approaching the earth.

This article was first published on January 20, 2020
Related topics : Asteroid Nasa Elon musk Spacex